For immediate release 6 November
Gaza faces the gravest humanitarian crisis in recent memory, as ongoing aerial bombardment and ground operations inflict unprecedented suffering on civilians. An immediate ceasefire and cessation of hostilities are required – especially to protect and assist the hundreds of thousands of children, elderly, women, and men whose lives continue to be shattered.
Both Israel and Hamas have conducted this armed conflict in a manner inconsistent with the rules of war. There are extensive reports of civilians, hospitals, refugee camps, schools and places of worship being directly hit, resulting in a large number of casualties. UNICEF has recently referred to Gaza as a “graveyard for thousands of children”. Until now, repeated calls from international organizations and their leaders have largely been ignored. Humanitarian access, release of hostages, safe passage for people seeking medical attention and people fleeing for their lives have been impeded by the ongoing bombardment and crossfire.
The Rafah crossing's recent opening, enabling humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza and allowing civilians and injured people to leave, signals a hopeful development. However, this is insufficient and needs to be urgently scaled up, given the magnitude of the crisis.
Nearly one month on, the war has reached catastrophic proportions. It is time for action to avert further deterioration. Humanity must prevail. Access to health care and medical attention must be ensured, for people from Gaza and others affected by escalating violence, in particular also in the West Bank. According to the UN and the World Health Organization, around 9,000 cancer patients in Gaza are in urgent need of life-saving treatment. The LWF, through the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem, stands ready to offer such treatment. More efforts must be made to allow patients access to these vital services without delay!
The Lutheran World Federations urgently calls for:
- An immediate ceasefire in Gaza to enable humanitarian aid to reach the affected populations and to facilitate safe passage for the wounded, the sick and those fleeing for safety
- Scaling up humanitarian access and humanitarian corridors to enable aid to reach the affected populations
- The immediate and safe release of all hostages detained by Hamas, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions
- The international community to intensify its efforts to compel conflicting parties to adhere to International Humanitarian Law, while also ensuring sufficient resources to assist all people affected by the conflict
The LWF stands in solidarity with all the people affected by the conflict in the Holy Land and calls on its member churches to pray for the millions who are mourning, injured, and suffering unspeakable pain.